#DoctoralCandidateCard to promote social guarantees for PhDs in Ukraine

#DoctoralCandidateCard / #ПосвідченняАспіранта – are the two hashtags standing for a new public initiative to improve the social guarantees and governmental support of doctoral candidates in Ukraine. The initiative is contained in a petition presented to the Ukrainian Government on the 19th of October 2019. The petition was initiated by Yevhenii Plakhotniuk, a PhD candidate of Kyiv National Linguistic University, and co-authored by Iryna Degtyarova, Vice-Chairman of the Young Scientists Council, advisory body to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, has traveled a long way of discussions and debates over European experience and challenges of its implementation in this country.

Here are the main ideas that the petition brings to the fore:

The legal status of doctoral candidates in Ukraine is dual in nature, combining features of students and researchers, similarly to  many EU countries. This implies balancing between taking part in actual educational activities like regular students while receiving state-regulated salary (scholarship or minimal salary equaling approx. 100-130 € per month) as young researchers employed at a certain department of the university. With this in mind, doctoral candidates in Ukraine have to fulfill the state regulations concerning international publications and participation in various scientific events (seminars, conferences, roundtables etc.). Obviously, this is the reason they have to look for some additional financial sources, which may come at the expense of the quality of their research.

EU countries usually can offer a system of social guarantees for doctoral candidates operationalised through a system of doctoral candidate cards. Unfortunately, there is neither unified position for such a document nor such support in Ukraine.

That is why we advocate for implementation of a unified #DoctoralCandidateCard to guarantee:

  1. discounts on transport services (reduced fare on public transport, intercity buses, underground and railway tickets);
  2. discounts on cultural and educational, cultural-entertainment, sports events;
  3. provision of accommodation in student hostels on preferential terms for the duration of postgraduate study;
  4. medical insurance;
  5. support for the doctoral candidates with children (discounts for public kindergartens, schools);
  6. conditions and discounts for recreation on  university premises;
  7. financial assistance for the purchase of scientific literature.

Additionally, these cards will be used as ID cards during international mobility activities and as library cards, which brings our country one step closer to academic euro-integration.

The authors also gave specific recommendations concerning the legal acts which require relevant amendment.  We hope that the academic community in Ukraine will support the idea with their votes.

Yevhenii Plakhotniuk, Iryna Degtyarova,
Ukraine